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Aquatic Invasive Species testing delayed on Flathead Lake

Posted at 1:39 PM, May 01, 2019

WOODS BAY – Abnormally long and cold weather has researchers at the Flathead Lake Biological Station (FLBS) delaying their Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) testing.

The water needs to stay around 50º for two weeks before they can sample for DNA and baby mussels since they spawn in the warmer weather.

Samples are mandatory in order to test Flathead Lake for the presence of AIS, which can clog pipes, damage boats, and interfere with Flathead Lake’s ecosystem.

While sampling is delayed Phil Matson with the FLBS says that researchers rely on e-DNA, a special filing system.

“We’ll analyze it one time and then archive the sample so we just put it in a deep freezer,” Matson said. “If we find a positive sample we can go back to our archive samples and maybe re-run them”

FLBS will now wait until mid-May to begin sampling for AIS. Since 2016, researchers have not found any baby mussels in the lake.

Matson says you can do your part to keep it that way by always following watercraft inspection rules.